Three Paulding County schools cleared after chase ends near campuses

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PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - A police chase turned into a frightening ordeal for parents of hundreds of kids in Paulding County Thursday morning.
 
At one point shots were fired and the chaotic scene that ended just yards from a high school and elementary school.
 
The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said South Pauling High, Dugan Elementary and Austin Middle schools were placed on lockdown after 8:30 a.m. as a precaution. They were given the all clear just after 10 a.m.
 
“We'd come out to see smoke and fire. It really sounded like an airplane had crashed back here,” said Kenya Owens.
 
The bizarre chase ended in the woods near Owens’ house, but only after a pickup truck had ripped a trail of destruction through the subdivision.
 
The police chase involved an officer under fire, and three nearby schools on lockdown. The school text alerts prompted some parents to rush over to the schools to check things out.
 
 “They allowed me to go right through and I recorded the suspect that was in custody,” parent Lou Martinez told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt.
 
Martinez was surprised to pull up next the fourth and final suspect nabbed by cops, just outside the school.
 
 “I tell you what, I lost a child in 2007 and with all the stuff going on right now it’s very nerve-racking,” Martinez said.
 
Martinez described the suspect as being in his late 20s.
 
Police said the two men were wearing body armor and the two women in the pickup were also caught nearby.
 
It is still unclear what they were up to.
 
“All we know of right now they were out shooting a gun. We don't know all the details yet,” said Villa Rica Police Chief Michael Mansour.
 
“Kids were worried because at first they said they went toward the school, that's the first thing they told us, is that the shooters went toward the school, so that's what scared us,” Owens said.
 
Police are still interviewing the four suspects and have not yet released their names.



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